Jenny Webb Says Baby Elephant Moses Likes to Snuggle with his Human Mom

The rescued orphan was taken in by conservationist Jenny Webb, who cares for him as she would a human toddler.

Moses and his mom, Jenny Webb love to be near each other. (Photo: Jumbo Foundation)

Oct 21, 2012· 2 MIN READ
A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades has previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and a medical writer.

While poachers seem to be increasing their efforts to brutalize elephant populations, conservationists are still fighting for the gentle animals’ preservation. One in particular opened not just her shelter but her home to a baby elephant rescued in Malawi.

Meet Baby Elephant Moses and his mom, Jenny Webb. Moses is just seven months old and currently weighs in at 220 pounds. He was found alone and close to death at the Vwazi Wildlife Reserve in Malawi, the Associated Press reports. After rangers spent two days fruitlessly searching for his family, they concluded he was most likely orphaned because of poachers. That’s when Jenny Webb took him in.

Jenny Webb runs Jumbo Foundation, a Malawi shelter for large animals. Jenny Webb essentially adopted Moses and cares for him as she would a human baby, bottle-feeding him (six gallons of formula a day!), snuggling with him, and playing games (he likes to play fetch).

MORE: In India, Poachers are Killing Elephants with Electrified Power Lines

Elephant and mom even sleep on the same mattress rolled out on her dining room floor. Jenny Webb reports that when she rolls over, Moses extends his trunk to pull her back towards him, insisting they face each other. Recently when Jenny Webb began taking care of her infant granddaughter, Moses pitched in, supervising the baby’s bath time.

But caring for a baby elephant is no easy feat. Jenny Webb reports it's a 24-hour-a-day job, one that requires her to enlist the help of two assistants who help look after Moses.

Since his arrival at Jumbo, Webb reports on her blog that the elephant has put on some much-needed weight and recovered from the necessary umbilical surgery performed just after his rescue. Jenny Webb expects him to continue to live with her for the next several years before she tries to transition him back into the wild― though how easily he’ll be able to transition after so much human contact seems to be the unanswered question right now. Nonetheless, because of her dedication to his well-being, Moses is fed and loved and happy. And he’s not the only one.

Earlier this week, another baby elephant was rescued, this time in a Kenyan national park by Vicki Fishlock of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants. The Christian Science Monitor reports that Fishlock recorded a video of a small elephant trapped in a man-made well. After some haranguing to remove its mother from the scene, Fishlock and her associates took on the arduous task of tying a rope around the baby and gently pulling him out of the well with the help of a Jeep. Later, baby and mother were reunited.

It's true that elephants are subjected to rampant barbarism at the hands of poachers. And at times, they're simply subjected to us encroaching on their environment. But what keeps them from disappearing altogether is the work of people like Jenny Webb and Fishlock, who consistently go out of their way to show these animals respect and care.

Would you go to the same lengths as Jenny Webb to take care of an orphaned animal, even if meant completely altering your life? Tell us in the Comments.